Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Move Toward National Standards and Curriculum

This is not a glamorous post but it is very important that this information be known. Please read the entire post. The changes being introduced will significantly impact homeschooling and education in general.

There is a serious shift in education that is not only reforming education but the American ideal of a parent's right to direct the education of their children. Quietly placed in an appropriations bill is a student aid program that will significantly expand the federal government's role in education.
[In] what could be an important shift in American education: for the first time the federal government will rate the academic rigor of the nation's 18,000 high schools.
The purpose is to offer grants to low-income college students who complete an "academically rigorous" program in high school. To some this looks like the "generous" federal government helping the disadvantaged. And it does do that but at a cost to our freedom. It allows the federal government to monitor high schools and their curriculum. In order to qualify for the grants the high schools will begin to tailor their curriculum to the requirements of the federal government. Thus a de facto national curriculum and standard evolves. (This goes beyond No Child Left Behind which just mandated testing but allowed the states to develop their own tests.)

Of course the federal government doesn't see it as an expansion at all. (When do they ever?)

"I do not see this, at all, as an expansion of the federal role," Sally L. Stroup, an assistant secretary of education, said in an interview. Washington, she said, would not impose a curriculum, just judge programs of study outlined by states. "Our job is to make sure that those are valid standards and valid programs," she said. Furthermore, states and communities can decide on their own whether their students will compete for the grants. "We don't force people to do anything," Ms. Stroup said.
Their claim that they're not forcing people to do anything is ridiculous. They just say you won't get federal money if you don't. (A bribe is a parent's way to get their children to do what they want. The same is true for the government.)

This should concern EVERY parent who has children and cares about their education. By allowing the federal government oversight of our nation's schools we will effective have a national school board and standards. Local control and parental involvement will become non existent.

The federal role in education is continually expanding even though the US Constitution provides no such role. This role will continue increasing over time just as it did when government began the take over after World War II. As these "standards of rigor" are developed at the federal level they will become the standard used in college admissions, scholarships, and job requirements.

The Constitution outlines no role for the federal government in education, and local control of schools is a cornerstone of the American system. But Washington's role has grown since Congress began financing college studies for World War II veterans. Several laws increased federal aid to education, including the landmark National Defense Act of 1958, but specifically prohibited federal officials from assuming supervision or control over programs of instruction....

As homeschoolers this will have an impact on us as well.

Another problem is that private school operators believe that the legislation renders their graduates ineligible by saying applicants must have completed a "program of study established by a state or local educational agency and recognized by the secretary." The bill "would inadvertently exclude over 5.3 million private K-12 school students," the National Association of Independent Schools, which represents some 1,200 private schools, said in a letter to senators last month. The same legislative language may also exclude parochial and home-schooled students.

Keep in mind that the standard implemented by the federal government in high school will trickle down to what is taught in the primary school level.

A national standard of education is a death blow to democracy in America. I hope parents take the time to get informed and decide what type of country they would like their children to inherit.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. - Ronald Reagan

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